US Automotive Legislation

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US Automotive Legislation

Within the United States, all new cars are subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These are issued, amended and enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The first FMVSS was issued in 1967 and related to seat belts. Since then they have drafted legislation covering most aspects of vehicle manufacture, predominantly from a safety perspective.

Legislation governing fuel economy and emissions is jointly regulated by the NHTSA and Environment Protection Agency (EPA) through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system.

The NHTSA administers the following laws relevant to automotive design:

Motor Vehicle Safety

Highway Safety

PART C – Information, Standards, and Requirements

All of these laws form part of the Title 49 US Code. They are documented in Subtitle VI – Motor Vehicle and Driver Programs, broken down as follows:

  • Part A: General

    Chapter 301 Motor Vehicle Safety

    Chapter 303 National Driver Register

    Chapter 305 National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

  • Part B: Commercial

    Chapter 311 Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety

    Chapter 313 Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators

    Chapter 315 Motor Carrier Safety

    Chapter 317 Participation in International Registration Plan and International Fuel Tax Agreement

  • Part C: Information, Standards and Requirements

    Chapter 321 General

    Chapter 323 Consumer Information

    Chapter 325 Bumper Standards

    Chapter 327 Odeometers

    Chapter 329 Automobile Fuel Economy

    Chapter 331 Theft Prevention

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations

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